The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia. While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East.
A form of society could undoubtedly exist powered by nuclear, wind and shale gas. But it would be a society supported by the state with far larger numbers working in the energy industries than now, producing lower surpluses, the energy production part perhaps running at a perennial loss. Those losses have to be covered by either higher price or via the taxation system. Either way, the brave new world that awaits us will be characterized as the time of less that will be in stark contrast to the time of plenty many of us enjoyed during the 20th Century.
North Korea Warns Of Attacks Against White House, Pentagon And Entire "Cesspool Of Terrorism" That Is AmericaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/22/2014 10:07 -0400
The whole "North Korea hacking Sony" story had gotten so bizarre over the past week, there was nothing stopping it from jumping fully into the rabit hole. Which it did overnight when as the FT reported, North Korea warned of strikes against key sites in the US in retaliation for Washington blaming Pyongyang for the recent Sony cyber attack, saying any US punishment over the incident would lead to damage “thousands of times greater”. The NDC said its 1.2m-member army was ready to use all types of warfare against the US. “Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon, and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” said the NDC statement, carried by official news agency KCNA.
- Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor (Reuters)
- People Call for Cooling of Racial Tensions After Murder of NYPD Officers (BBG)
- The $6.3 Trillion Frenzy That Vanquished Treasury Bears (BBG)
- China Investigates Possible Stock-Price Manipulation (WSJ)
- Citigroup Was Wary of Metals-Backed Loans (WSJ)
- UPS Turns Parking Lots Into Sorting Centers to Add Speed (BBG)
- U.S. Move to Normalize Cuba Ties Boosts Firms’ Asset Claims (WSJ)
- Meredith Whitney’s Fund Said to Drop 11% as Office Put on Market (BBG)
- Railcar Bottleneck Looms for Oil (WSJ)
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Defiant North Korea Says Can Prove It Is Not Behind Hack "Without Resorting To Torture Like The CIA"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/20/2014 12:01 -0400
Surely, the punchline is that even a tiny backwater, dictatorship can now make fun of US "moral high ground" courtesy of the recent CIA torture disclosure. “We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture, as what the C.I.A. does,” the North Korea statement said. Oops.
"Most investors go about their job trying to identify ‘winners’. But more often than not, investing is about avoiding losers. Like successful gamblers at the racing track, an investor’s starting point should be to eliminate the assets that do not stand a chance, and then spread the rest of one’s capital amongst the remainder." So as the year draws to a close, it may be helpful if we recap the main questions confronting investors and the themes we strongly believe in, region by region.
United States Of Newspeak – Obama Spins Executive Orders As "Presidential Memoranda" To Avoid ScrutinySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/18/2014 23:50 -0400
If there’s one thing we have learned about Barack Obama, it’s that he is a master of deception and absolutely loves to lie to the public. He seems to enjoy conning the plebs to such a degree, I think he actually receives blasts of dopamine every time he does it. The bigger the lie, the better the rush: "President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders. Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress. They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda."
- Swiss National Bank Starts Negative Interest Rate of 0.25% to Stave Off Inflows (BBG)
- Putin Strikes Uncompromising Stance Over Crisis Gripping Russia (BBG)
- Sony cancels North Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers (Reuters)
- U.S. Said Set to Blame North Korea for Sony Cyber Attack (BBG)
- China’s Short-Term Borrowing Costs Surge as Demand for Money Grows (WSJ)
- Russia Currency Market Bends But Doesn’t Break (BBG)
- Jeb Bush Puts Pressure on Chris Christie for 2016 (WSJ)
- From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy (Reuters)
- Russians Quit London Luxury Homes as Only Super-Rich Stay (BBG)
While the entire financial world is hanging on to every Mario Draghi word in hope Europe finally improves the market's (if not the economy's) "fundamentals" to new record highs, and joins the rest of the "developed" world's central banks in injecting trillions of liquidity into the Div/0 P/E stocks "whatever it takes" (because in a world where only multiple expansion is left, the ECB is the last wildcard at least until the US is dragged right back into the global recession and the Fed admits any pipe dreams of a rate hike in 2015 were just that), something far more different may be taking place behind the scenes. According to at least one journalist, the Fiscal Times' Patrick Smith, "Draghi appears set to leave Frankfurt and return to his native Italy the first chance he gets."
Police misconduct has a cumulative effect on a culture. We do not forget all of the oversteps of the past; we merely file them away until we finally reach a breaking point. It is important for LEOs to understand that while they may have a relative immunity to legal reparations, they are not immune to the rage of the populace and will likely find their fragile warrior personas rather inadequate when that day arrives. For the true constitutional police out there, it is time to take sides, either with good American people or with the corrupt establishment. It is impossible to serve both. The illusion of the “thin blue line” is quickly fading. The only question now is: What is going to replace it? The establishment would have you believe there are only two options: total chaos or martial law. But there has always been a third alternative they seek to suppress: the return of community defense, the resurgence of localized responsibility and the victory of personal liberty over false security.
The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, we stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that our luck will change. The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the country and us. It’s time to change the rules of the game. For that matter, it’s time to change the game.
Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy? Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.
Germans can’t get their gold reserves. Do how did the Dutch get their 122 tonnes of gold?
Is Germany being prevented from holding gold to prevent independent foreign policy action?
One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama's controversial "school lunch program", one who also happens to be "Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family." He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.